The Panthers come into this weekends road trip riding a two-game sweep vs Indiana University last weekend in Indianapolis. Coming in at 5-4-1, Eastern Illinois is looking to continue their momentum in Champaign this weekend, but they know that University of Illinois (3-8-2) will be a much tougher test than the Hoosiers. Points leader (29) and captain of the Panthers, Michael Sorrentino, will need to continue his strong play on offense for Eastern to continue their winning ways this weekend.
Although the Fighting Illini have a losing record this season (3-8-2), they have played a tough schedule and are not to be taken lightly. One way that Eastern Illinois can shut down the Illini is to slow down their star player and assistant captain, sophomore, Matt Crook. Crook leads Illinois in games played, assists, and goals this season. Crook is the spark plug for U of I, if the Panthers can shut him down then they have a very high chance of having success this weekend.
Junior forward for the Panthers, Andrew Maronich, believes that in order to have success vs. Illinois the team has to come together and play a full 60 minutes of hockey. “Too many times this season we have had a let-down period. Illinois will capitalize on that, and make us pay for it” said Maronich earlier this week. Senior forward, Conner Cox, believes that the traveling crowd’s presence at the University of Illinois Ice Arena will play a huge factor for the Panthers, “It’s impossible to come out flat when hundreds of your classmates and friends are going nuts just to watch you play.” Cox went on to add that,
“Everyone’s going to want to make the right pass, lay the big hit, and be the one to put the puck in the net in front of the fans. The crowd will truly be a driving force behind our squad’s performance this weekend.”
The Panthers are set to play the University of Illinois in Champaign tonight at 10:30 pm, and tomorrow at 4:20 pm, both games being played at the University of Illinois Ice Arena located on campus. Also tune in for live broadcast’s of each game by Jack Sheehan at ustream.com channel- “EIU Hockey”.